Recommendations: New and forthcoming nonfiction | Fresh Reads

By David Brewster | Nov 02, 2018
Courtesy of: Crown Archetype

Several readers (and one editor) of my previous column on new fiction books asked for a follow-up piece on new and forthcoming nonfiction titles that the Edmonds Bookshop staff are anticipating will be hits this fall and in the coming holiday season.

We don’t receive many galleys (advance reader’s editions) of nonfiction titles, and most of us generally gravitate toward new work by favorite literary and mystery writers, so a few of the following suggestions are culled from sources other than our own staff.

Biography and memoir

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography,” by Eric Idle, $27 (Oct. 2)

Elaine: Monty Python’s ringleader reflects on the meaning of his own life in this entertaining memoir that takes us on a remarkable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theater and film.

”Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life,” by Jane Sherron de Hart, $35 (Oct.16)

Elaine: In this comprehensive biography, de Hart explores the central experiences that shaped Ginsburg’s passion for justice, her advocacy for gender equality and her meticulous jurisprudence. At the heart of her story and abiding beliefs is her Jewish background, and “tikkun olam,” the Hebrew injunction to “repair the world.”

”Becoming,” by Michelle Obama, $32.50 (Nov. 13)

All: Certainly one of the most anticipated books of the fall, “Becoming” is an intimate, powerful and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady. Told in her own words and on her own terms, Obama takes readers on her journey from the South Side of Chicago to Pennsylvania Avenue, always with her trademark honesty and wit.

Current Affairs

”Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime,” by Ben Blum, $16.95 paperback (July 31)

Ron: On the eve of his deployment as a young, gung-ho Army Ranger, Blum’s first cousin, Alex, commits a senseless crime. In addition to being an absorbing crime story, this is a fascinating study of family dynamics.

”Almost Everything: Notes on Hope, by Anne Lamott” $20 (Oct. 16)

In her latest book, influential and widely read author Anne Lamott explores life's essential truths, sharing nuggets of hope and wisdom along the way.

”The Library Book,” by Susan Orlean, $28 (Oct. 16)

With the unsolved mystery of the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire as a jumping-off point, Orlean weaves the history of libraries with her own memories and interviews with LAPL employees, in a love letter to libraries.

”The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World,” by Sarah Weinman, $27.99 (Nov. 6)

The fascinating story of the kidnapping of 11-year-old Sally Horner in 1948 that may have strongly influenced Vladimir Nabokov when he was writing his novel “Lolita,” that’s both a literary detective story and an astute cultural history.

”The End of the End of the Earth: Essays,” by Jonathan Franzen, $26 (Nov. 13)

A new essay collection from the renowned chronicler of the Midwest, focused on his obsession with birds and timely climate-change reportage.

History and politics

”Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World,” by Suzy Hansen, $15 paperback (Aug. 14)

Susan: Hansen moved to Istanbul after the 9/11 terror attacks to better understand the Islamic world. In this blend of history, memoir and journalism, she discovers what America’s power means to people far beyond our borders.

”Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays),” by Rebecca Solnit, $15.95 paperback (Sept. 4)

Michelle: Solnit writes with amazing honesty and from a place of true concern for the human condition, and her style is so beautifully crafted and relatable.

”Leadership: In Turbulent Times,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, $30 (Sept. 18)

Mary Kay: Esteemed historian Goodwin examines four ambitious presidents – Abraham Lincoln, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson _ who met reversals and opposition, only to learn from their adversity and emerge as stronger leaders who rose to the challenges of their times.

Local Interest

”Arctic Solitaire: A Boat, a Bay, and the Quest for the Perfect Bear,” by Paul Souders, $26.95 (Sept. 4)

Michelle: I'm always enticed by interesting and unique nature photography books (especially of bears), and Souders’ photographs have a genuine innocent quality about them.

Just as compelling is his account of following his passion, across four summers, 600 miles of a vast inland sea, and the unpredictable Arctic wilderness, to capture these amazing images. Souders will visit for a book signing Saturday, Jan.19.

A gentle reminder that those interested in these books and many, many more can now order and purchase from the Edmonds Bookshop ecommerce site,, where you’ll find other recommendations as well as an up-to-date calendar of events.

If audiobooks are an option, many of our featured titles are available at




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